Pepsi advertisers are in a big fat mess. The new skinny can that is launching just in time for New York's Fashion Week -- as well as National Eating Disorders Awareness Week -- has ED activists on fire, shaming Pepsi for promoting anything skinny.
Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of NEDA commented on the situation:
"It is painful that a major fortune 500 company needs to denigrate the majority of women in this country to sell their products. Most women are not skinny, nor should we encourage them to be anything but their own personal healthy size. The focus should be on health. All women – whatever their body type – should be sassy and confident in their individuality and their beauty. Pepsi should be ashamed for declaring that skinny is to be celebrated. The many millions suffering from eating disorders in this country would disagree."
"PepsiCo’s comments are both thoughtless and irresponsible," Grefe continued. “Their shameful misdirection is further exemplified by tying the launch of this offensive marketing campaign to Fashion Week, where women’s body types are atypical at best … and unhealthy as to be fatal at worst."
While I think it is wrong for advertisers to keep subliminally hammering the thin ideal into our minds -- especially the minds of impressionable children and adolescents -- the reality is that our culture values thinness. It is just one of many triggers in the world to encourage and perpetuate eating disorders.
I'm wondering ... will Pepsi come out with a 'fat' can for regular pepsi, to promote weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease from drinking all-sugar beverages? My guess is a big, fat NO.
While Pepsi execs assert that the new can is to celebrate confident women, Jill Beraud, the company's chief marketing officer, stated, "Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today’s most stylish looks." Once again the message is clear: Thin and attractive equals confidence and self-love. While I know that the opposite doesn't promote confidence and self-love, can't we find a media middle ground???